Tag Archives: marcel proust

on art and photography, regained

Sunday 10 October 2010

photographic images rescued from a camera; hidden layers of digital data, memory extracted and reclaimed – digitally collaged fragments of erased photographs that were previously recorded (or found) then deleted (lost), now recovered again…

i obviously did not plan to create these actual compositions but i am their originator…

in this first digital composition there are three photographic images, of some naturally occurring lichens and two works in progress…

this composition also combines the surface elements of one of my paintings with yet another found abstract or painting, some rusty traces on a metal tank…

have you read about the minor discovery of the ivy drawings? nature’s means of making a mark on a surface – here montaged with a small glimpse of electricity lines (more drawing, or lines in space) and a snippet of surface rust – the black void of a small rectangle aptly completes the composition…

i am not sure why some of the rescued images were divided vertically, some lichens on stonework and more ivy found drawings

the middle section is a close up of some paintings, the lower section is as before and the thin upper section is a detail of some wood texture…

these images are exactly as found or retrieved, i had no direct input (other than expressed above) – the compositions seem arbitrary according to the original data and the colours are at times quite skewed.

now, there’s an idea; i can’t wait to see what will happen next… (please do not copy, reproduce, modify, distribute or otherwise use or reuse without the owner’s permission)…

these are images not just retrieved from layers of digital memory but are also intriguing montages of my observations, or reflections on the process of painting, my own visual experiences and memories collated & recollected in a new composite format if you will…

to quote marcel proust: ‘ in fashioning a work of art we are by no means free, […] we do not choose how we shall make it, it pre-exists us and therefore we are obliged, since it is both necessary and hidden, to do what we [must] do as if it were a law of nature, that is to say, to discover it.’

if art – or the task of being an artist – has no other purpose then it is first and foremost to bring into being a new discovery. these digital images, discovered by chance and yet actioned, reminded me that what makes the art is what makes us. these remind me that art, life & its experiences are ever-evolving, accumulating in many layers over time, and that art is still very much an essential, sensory need, even in a virtually giving world.

news: i will have a couple of small canvas works in the cromer & sheringham arts festival (a good excuse to revisit the wonderful north norfolk coastline). the cromer & sheringham arts festival takes place between 23rd and 31st october 2010 at various art venues and will include music, theatre, dance, poetry, performance & the visual arts – i will plug this event again nearer the time.

i have also been asked to put in some small works into a local exhibition, which will very much be filled to the rafters with contemporary art & craft – royal academy salon style – a month long view & buy event with extra work kept in backstock. also, i received in the mail an invitation from a gallery that i have worked with in the past to submit work for their anniversary show in 2011.

i have also been working on an exhibition proposal, or rather the ideas for some new work for it; we’ll see, nothing ventured, nothing gained…

other ideas are slowly percolating as usual, but i have become mindful of late that this blog is very much a reflective journal and not just a show & tell. sometimes i know i have said too much and perhaps should keep some of my thinking to myself. other times i see it as one side of a conversation; the artist talking.

what do you think? are you interested in the insight into some of my own creative process, or are you looking for some inspiring instructional how-tos?

in a previous post i mentioned that my creative block, or rather the obstacles which i create for myself, are often the extra finances required to push forward new ideas. perhaps these limitations will be good,but i fancifully thought that a little foray into ceramics or glass would be a natural development of my interest in surfaces & materials.

it seems that all of these little happenings will keep art matters ticking along for the foreseeable future, in the present circumstances…

[today’s date, one thousand and ten – looks like a random clip of computer binary code…]

more grey sky thinking, out of the blue

Friday 30 July 2010

more cloud gazing this week, torrential rain all day on tuesday (a typically british summer’s day) – this was the view from the window at about 6pm…

electricity power lines outside a window, with cloudy sky
a room with a view

i hadn’t really noticed how prominent these power lines were before; my days must be slowly draining of any meaningful structure if i get distracted by this visual discordance with nature’s billowy curtain… today when i awoke, i did, for a brief moment, wonder what day it was, whether it was saturday already, and that a day of more domestic to-do-tasks await me, tasks which fuel so little enthusiasm as to be remotely filed and archived for just such rainy days

in the manner of these featureless, grey days i have been feeling somewhat melancholic in heart and the vast canvas of the sky seemed to be a reflection of the reality of recent events…

thus, i have not been motivated to paint much, well perhaps for an hour or so, here and there, when the mood takes. it seems too self-indulgent to ‘just paint’ when real-life concerns pile up like the laundry, and then there has been the issue of the quality of daylight

here are a couple of close-up images of one of my current paintings, lichenscape II (a work in progress), taken earlier on today…

lichenscape ii - abstract painting - lichen textures detail
detail of the surface of the painting, lichen on stone textures

i had a rash moment of destructive thinking when evaluating this canvas (perhaps inspired by these photographic reframings, seeing paintings within paintings), deciding that i might cut up the canvas into nine smaller ones – the lack of a decent-sized studio space to work in is almost unbearable at times…

i have found that in attending to these two large canvases (aka the lichenscapes) it has clouded my creative process – i realise that i am trying to condense into these two paintings a subjective concern which would be better pursued over eight or ten (or even more) paintings. myriad other thoughts (too nebulous to be proper working concepts or ideas) also run daily through my mind, and then i have to remind myself to just focus

lichenscape 2 painting - detail of surface textures
another detail of the textured surface of a lichen-esque painting

exhibition news

yesterday evening i attended the private view of the exhibition rebirth. lorraine cooke, the curator of the exhibition, has done an amazing job in bringing this show together. i feel most privileged to have some of my paintings included in this art exhibition.

i realise that i am still reticent in ‘working‘ the private view scenario, as i slowly perused the exhibition on the opening night – this is probably due to: a) being very slight and thus am always less ‘visible’ in a busy gallery crowd, and also b) a (now) love/hate relationship with my new dr marten boots. i walked to the gallery from the train station and worked up some fine blisters – such small injuries can really be the breaking of the spirit.

i also met and chatted with the artist veronica grassi – she has some quite beautiful textural, sculptural pieces in this exhibition. barbara leaney’s dogwood sculptures are also quite spectacular, as are the smaller, detailed works of the contemporary japanese artists included in the show. i urge anyone passing through the fine city of norwich to go and see the exhibition at gallery art1821 – it is open until 8th september 2010 – you can also read more about the rebirth exhibition on art 1821’s website

to further the idleness of my daily musings and observations, dear reader, may i introduce to you my humble sketching kit? (i always like to travel light, a habit instilled in me since my inter-railing journeys across europe)

winsor newton cotman sketchers watercolour box
my winsor & newton sketchers’ box of watercolours

very small jam jar for sketching watercolours
a tiny tiptree jam jar (for water)

assorted sketching pencils derwent and caran d'ache
an assortment of stubby sketching pencils, mostly derwent & caran d’ache

and here is a composite image of my sketchbookiness of the last few days, 21-29 july, 2010…

sketchbook pages - studies of clouds and skies, late july 2010
skies and clouds sketches

sketchbook drawing - study of a grey cloud
monday, mid afternoon, looking east across fields towards marshes, high up in the sky, grey centre… in graphite, pencil and watercolour…

sketchbook drawing - more skies and clouds
wednesday, early afternoon… looking east, cooler, bright, clouds moving fast… in graphite and pencil…

sketchbook drawing - study of an afternoon sky
thursday, late afternoon, slim, dark clouds moving laterally, about 5pm…

this is becoming slightly obsessive; i have a mild desire to master the morphing art of the east anglian skies…

and i penned another haiku style poem, or my own ode to a cloud

a cloud
tarnished silver
darkening the weeping willows

i am now thinking of joining the cloud appreciation society, whose pledge is to fight the banality of blue-sky thinking

see my cloud drawings animation from last year: the art of idleness

last chance to seetextures, traces & elements at beyond the image gallery – the exhibition closes at 4pm on sunday 1st august 2010.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust (remembrance of things past)

About face, about books

Monday 25 February 2008

Today, I rather fancifully imagined myself as someone quite erudite and intellectual, having found a copy of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (Volume 1) in a local charity shop. I have attempted to read some of Proust’s great work before, having downloaded an Ebook from Project Gutenberg. In the extracts I read back then I found the lyricism contained in his references to personal reflection and memory, and the multi-sensory capacity of his words to paint scenarios of people, times and locations past quite mind-blowingly vivid and not all difficult to follow (with some thanks to the translators).

However, this was and is the mother of all novels and attempting to read any part of it as an Ebook was an ill-thought out and futile task. I hope this time to stay the literary distance and not give up after the first chapter; I feel I need a diversion of the complexity afforded by Proust, and I am intrigued by the concept of involuntary memory (the mundane, everyday triggers that take us back to another time, place), but it may be a step too far, and too soon – I need to firstly purge myself of all the small, inconsequential things currently distracting me…

I have a small truth to reveal – I have been seduced by the networking phenomenon that is facebook. Encouraged, or was it gently persuaded, by some work colleagues I tentatively signed up; it will be great way to display your artwork and meet other artists said one real friend. A couple of months in the facebook jungle and it seems scarily populated by attention-seekers and have-to-post wall junkies, with lists of applications and friends so long, you can’t help but wonder how they manage to write up their Christmas card shortlist, or find the time within their online schedule to do simple things like walking the dog or eating breakfast.

I am humouring here, but there does seem to be a strategy or modus operandi to this new world order, taking a peek at other friend’s lists, do some judicious poking, a message sent here or there, and voila! shiny, new virtual acquaintances are made (I am guilty of this too), making your friends’ list swell at a rate unheard of in real life social circles. I hardly need engage in the thorny topic of add-on applications, the irritating prickles in facebook’s blooming rose. In short facebook fatigue has finally set in.

I am at the point of withdrawing my membership after failing quite abysmally in my search for old student day friends (I found solace in playing scrabulous instead!) – except that (much like the Eagle’s Hotel California) you can never truly leave facebook, you can only deactivate your account. I contemplated joining an existing art group, but which one, there were simply hundreds to choose from? One solution is to set up a new group (read here, support group), to exchange artist information, discuss creative ideas, display new artwork, on the themes of sublime decay, artistic decay, or maybe the poetics of decay. Come gather, soon-to-be artist-friends, the facebook revolution will not be artistically compromised…